Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free Streaming Albums: New Music from Magnetic Fields, Memoryhouse, & More

Probably the most anticipated of the new albums streaming online this week is the latest release from The Magnetic Fields, "Love At The Bottom Of The Sea," the group's first album since 2010's "Realism." Leader Stephin Merritt has a history of making abrupt changes in the band's sound from album to album, and NPR Music says this new work is a return to its earlier synthesizer-based approach.

Video for "Andrew in Drag," from the new Magnetic Fields album.

But don't expect to settle in with any of the songs for very long: NPR's review says, "These 15 songs feel slight by design—the longest track is a brisk 2:39, and the whole enterprise clocks out at about 34 minutes—but there's a world of wit in their brevity."

Also streaming online this week is "New Multitudes," another album of Woody Guthrie lyrics set to music by modern artists, this time Jay Farrar, Jim James (of My Morning Jacket, under his oddball alter ego "Yim Yames"), Will Johnson, and Anders Parker.

Other notable streaming albums including the latest from two newly popular Canadian outfits, Memoryhouse (its first full-length) and Plants and Animals, and new releases from Andrew Bird, Anais Mitchell, and Amy Ray (half of the Indigo Girls).

You'll also get a second chance at hearing "Ghostory" by School of Seven Bells, which KCRW and NPR had featured earlier.

As always, the albums listed below are just a sampling of those streaming this week; check the websites for full lineups. Albums are generally available for streaming for a week or eight days, beginning each Monday, though sometimes they may be available a day or so longer.

Let us know in the comments section which ones below you like, or what other new or upcoming releases you're enjoying.

NPR First Listen:
"Love At The Bottom Of The Sea" by The Magnetic Fields
"Milk Famous" by White Rabbits
" Break It Yourself" by Andrew Bird
"Ekstasis" by Julia Holter

Spinner.com's Listening Party:
"Lung of Love" by Amy Ray
"The Slideshow Effect" by Memoryhouse
"Myth" by Geographer
"Ghostory" by School of Seven Bells
"Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun" by The Wooden Sky
"New Multitudes" by Jay Farrar, Yim Yames, Will Johnson, Anders Parker
"The End of That" by Plants and Animals
"King of the Waves" by Little Barrie
"Those of Us Still Alive" by Tiny Victories

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"The Perfect Crime" by Magnolia Memoir
"Young Man in America" by Anais Mitchell

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sharon Van Etten Charms Home Crowd at Bowery Ballroom (PHOTOS)

With her growing popularity, it's no surprise that Sharon Van Etten got a warm welcome at her show at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night. But there was another reason why the endearing singer-songwriter had the crowd in her pocket: the Nutley, NJ native (who now lives in Brooklyn) had a lot of friends at family at the gig, and noted early on in the show that there were "a lot of Van Ettens" in attendance.

Sharon Van Etten with guitarist/keyboard player Heather Woods Broderick.
That's not to say that one had to be a current SVE fan or family member to enjoy the show (which featured Austin band Shearwater as the opening act). Beginning with "All I Can," Van Etten and her band played a nearly one-and-a-half-hour set consisting mostly of songs from her excellent new album "Tramp"(which came out earlier this month). But they also went back to her first full-length "Because I Was in Love"and to the EP that brought her to the notice of a lot of people, 2010's "Epic." (See the setlist photo below.)

One song not on the playlist: after "Love More" (from "Epic"), Van Etten brought the members of Shearwater for a cover of the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty 80s hit, "Stop Dragging My Heart Around."

Van Etten playing the harmonium.

In the last few years SVE has evolved from a girl-with-guitar singer-songwriter to a more confident recording artist and bandleader, and has been more adventurous with the sounds she has employed in her songs. This has no doubt been helped by her collaboration on "Tramp" with Aaron Dessner of The National (the album was recorded at his home-based studio in Brooklyn).

At various times in the show Van Etten noted the presence of her mother, aunts, cousins, and siblings in the audience. Along with her band, Van Etten shared the stage with a large balloon figure that she was said a birthday present to her from The Antlers (she turned 31 on Feb. 26th, and the audience sang Happy Birthday to her shortly before midnight).

Van Etten alternated between electric and acoustic guitars for most of the show, but also took turns playing the harmonium (above) and at one point played a song on a plastic electronic instrument with a lot of buttons on it, which looked (and sounded) like an autoharp.

Van Etten singing "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" with Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg.

Van Etten no doubt had a very good birthday weekend, selling out shows on three consecutive nights in her backyard (Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday, and Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and Sunday). With her growth as a songwriter and increased confidence as a performer, she'll certainly command a larger stage on her next tour. So I was glad to see her in the relatively small room at Bowery Ballroom.

 Shearwater opened with a set of songs focusing on its latest album, "Animal Joy."

Sharon Van Etten setlist (a woman standing next to me snagged it & let me take a quick shot of it).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

WFMU's 2012 Music Marathon On Now, with Treats Galore

Here's a bit of a promotional plug... not for me or this blog, but for radio station WFMU in Jersey City, NJ. For decades it has proudly called itself the "free-form station of the nation," and has lived up to that name by serving up a mix of news and talk that defies labels such as "eclectic" or "bizarre."

WFMU (91.1 FM and streaming at www.wfmu.org) is now conducting its annual Marathon, a nearly two-week fundraising drive that features plenty of guest musicians and other treats. The legendary Yo La Tengo will once again sit in on a show later in the drive (March 2nd, between 9 p.m. and Midnight), acting as a live jukebox as it plays requests from pledgers in the WFMU studios.

WFMU's 2012 Marathon has lifted off and is looking for your help.

WFMU features knowledgeable, experienced DJs (Irene Trudel and Terre T. are two of my current favorites; famed rock DJ Vin Scelsa of long-gone WNEW-FM got his start at FMU). These on-air personalities work without pay and often bring in their own music.

If you're looking for diverse programming that's the opposite of that corporate schlock that's programmed by a computer, WFMU is the place to go. You won't find show names like "Inflatable Squirrel Carcass," "Strength through Failure," "Shut Up, Weirdo," and "Music to Spazz By" on your local Clear Channel affiliate. (See WFMU's full winter schedule here, with links to archives and sample shows).

That's not to say that some of the programs might irritate you or make your ears bleed, but half the fun is cruising around the station's extensive online archives and playlists and finding out what you like. Or even better, listening to things you've never heard of before.

One of the CD premiums from this year's WFMU Marathon.

WFMU also has some rather clever premiums for its Marathon that are much more interesting than most public radio fare. Yes, there are tote bags and t-shirts, but the best stuff of all is the one-of-a-kind music collections that you won't find anywhere else. (See the WFMU premiums and the special DJ's premiums.)

Then there's WFMU's unique history of being a college radio station that survived on its own when the college went out of business, but that's a story for another post (which I wrote here).

Above: Kurt Cobain perusing WFMU's first "Catalog of Curiosities" during some on-stage downtime.

Listen in to WFMU at 91.1 FM in the NYC area, WMFU at 90.1 in the Hudson Valley, or at www.wfmu.org and support the station if you like what you hear.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Sleigh Bells, School of Seven Bells, & More

New releases from the London-based indie-pop band Fanfarlo and the dreamy New York duo School of Seven Bells highlight the albums available for online streaming this week. [UPDATE, Wed., Feb. 22nd: AOL Music has added the new Sleigh Bells album, "Reign of Terror," to its streaming lineup for this week (stream it here), so that's the highlight of this week's new streaming choices. I've added that below and put it in the title.] I liked Fanfarlo's previous record, and while I can't say I'm always in the mood for the ethereal soundscapes of SVIIB, their songs are great when I want something totally different from the traditional guitar-based rock combo.

Fanfarlo's "Rooms Filled with Light" is one of the albums you can preview online this week.

Formed as a trio featuring guitarist Benjamin Curtis (of Secret Machines) and twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza doing vocals, SVIIB carries on as a duo following the departure of Claudia late last year more than a year ago.

Also on preview this week: the new album by singer-songwriter Sara Radle, formerly in The Rentals (with ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp); the California band Princeton; the Grammy-winning Benin artist Angelique Kidjo; and many other bands that, well, I'm not at all familiar with. (However, I enjoyed listening to "Giant Orange," the rocking album by Cheap Girls, today, so often the fun of these previews is discovering a collection you like by an artist you've never heard of before.)

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Reign of Terror" by Sleigh Bells
"Spirit Rising" by Angelique Kidjo
"Same Sun Shines" by Sara Radle
"Awkward Breeds" by The Sidekicks

NPR First Listen:
"Rooms Filled With Light" by Fanfarlo
"Toward the Low Sun" by Dirty Three
"Court the Storm" by Y La Bamba
"Black Radio" by Robert Glasper Experiment

Hype Machine:
"Ghostory" by School of Seven Bells

Spinner.com's Listening Party:
"Giant Orange" by Cheap Girls
"Metal Moon" by Dirty Ghosts
"Lungs, Dirt & Dreams" by Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters
"North for the Winter" by Guy Capecelatro III
"Wake All My Youth" by Young Empires
"Remembrance of Things to Come" by Princeton

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sleigh Bells Played SNL a Day After their T5 Show (VIDEO)

Following up on its sold-out (and webcast) show at NYC's cavernous Terminal 5 Friday, Sleigh Bells moved over to Rockefeller Center the next day to be the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live."

The Brooklyn-based band first performed "Comeback Kid" and then returned with "End of the Line," both off their second album, "Reign of Terror" (out Tuesday). On the SNL performance the contrast between the sweet, poppy voice of singer Alexis Krauss and the distorted, thrashing guitars of Derek Miller and another guitarist who's accompanying them on tour, identified as Jason Boyer in an article in today's New York Times.

[Update, Feb. 20th: a few reviews of "Reign of Terror" have appeared online today, and they're pretty positive. See the writeups by Greg Kot (Sound Opinions, 3 of 4 stars), the L.A. Times' Pop & Hiss (3 of 4 stars), and Consequence of Sound (4.5 out of 5 stars).]

Krauss's voice was sweet enough to front a jangly pop group, and in fact she was in a teen-pop band in the past. In the webcast of Friday's show, the overall sound was rougher and more raucous, with Krauss often shouting rather than singing the songs with the controlled, more delicate vocals in the SNL versions.

No doubt the venue and setting having something to do with that; performing to a large audience at Terminal 5 and being heard over stacks of Marshall amps is a different matter than singing on the SNL sound stage (though the same Marshall amps were present at SNL, it's unclear how many were actually turned on). Personally, I thought the shouting vocal performance was a more complement to the searing guitar of the songs.

To compare the versions, see the video below and the Terminal 5 versions of three other songs at youtube.com/bowerypresents: "Infinite Guitars," "A/B Machines," "Kids," and "Riot Rhythm."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free Music: Sleigh Bells Streaming Tonight; 50-Foot Wave Gives Away Its Tunes; & More

If you're looking for some new tunes to listen to, you'll have plenty to keep you busy this weekend. From a live streaming concert to a new set by F*cked Up to Soundgarden's frontman covering Dolly Parton (and Whitney Houston), here's what's happening:

* Watch Sleigh Bells performing live tonight at New York's Terminal 5. The show is sold out, but you can watch it at 10:30 p.m. Eastern at www.youtube.com/bowerypresents.

* 50-Foot Wave, the trio led by Kristin Hersh, has released its latest EP, “With Love from the Men’s Room,” and its entire catalog, for free download. The zip file is 1.35 GB. This is a logical step for Hersh, who for years has made her music (solo work, as well as tunes by 50-Foot Wave and Throwing Muses) available on a pay-what-you-wish basis.

F*cked Up is still celebrating the Chinese zodiac, and you can celebrate by streaming it free.

* Canadian punk band F*cked Up has issued "Year of the Tiger," the latest in its series of Chinese zodiac recordings. You can stream the set at the link; it includes F*cked Up frontman Damian Abraham performing a duet with Annie-Claude Deschênes, the singer for fellow Canadian band Duchess Says.

* Dum Dum Girls have posted a couple of hand-picked compilations on their website this week. Or rather their leader Dee Dee has. "Get Lost" was done for Rough Trade features songs from Morrissey, Jesus and Mary Chain, Kurt Vile, and others, and runs 71 minutes.

The second mix, called "Stoned in Love," is a set Dee Dee says she and her husband (Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles) put together. As you'd expect from this couple, it's an eclectic box of Valentine's Day chocolates, with tunes from Slade, the Soft Boys, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Serge Gainsbourg, Primal Scream, and Leonard Cohen. It runs 42 minutes.

* Finally, above you'll find a video that's been bouncing all over the blogosphere recently: Soundgarden's Chris Cornell performing "I Will Always Love You," written by Dolly Parton and, of course, made famous by the late Whitney Houston.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

PHOTOS: Dum Dum Girls Play Maxwell's on Brief East Coast Swing

Just a few months after their last show at Maxwell's, the Dum Dum Girls returned to the fame Hoboken club Saturday for one of the final stops on their brief, six-date "Conquering the Hearts" East Coast tour. Although the band had the same energy as before, it played a somewhat shorter set, coming in at just about 50 minutes, and did not play an encore.

Jules of the Dum Dum Girls.
Perhaps the brevity of the show, and this tour, were because the band wanted to give its newest member, Malia James, a chance to get her feet wet in playing the DDG repertoire. James, who is a photographer in addition to having been a member of the bands Marnie Stern and The Black Ryder, fit in well musically, and dressed in traditional Dum Dum Girls style (black leather and lace, short shorts with patterned stockings), but wore a hat, which made her stand out from the other band members.

Dum Dum Girls, from left: Jules, Dee Dee, Malia James.

Dum Dum Girls opened with "He Gets Me High" and "Catholicked," then played a set that as expected consisted mostly of tunes from "Only In Dreams," the band's latest album.

If you like garage rock with touches of 1960s girl groups, the Dum Dum Girls are a great band to see live, especially in a small venue. I'll definitely catch their next New York area appearance. 

Widowspeak played before Dum Dum Girls.

Jules, Sandra, and Dee Dee (left to right).

Malia James was playing her first gigs with the band.

Jules singing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Sinead O'Connor, Islands, Amos Lee, Poliça, & More

The new album by Tennis is one of many streaming free this week. Band members Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are seen here at Bumbershoot 2011. Photo: musicisentropy

There's a full load of new albums for online preview this week, including the new releases from Sinead O'Connor, Islands, Tennis, Poliça, and Amos Lee.

No matter what you think of O'Connor's political beliefs, multiple marriages, or hair styles, she still has one of the most unique and beautiful voices in the business, and no one can accuse her of getting stuck in the same style or genre for long. Her new release "How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?" is one of the first new albums I'll be listening to this week.

Other albums I'm looking forward to: the latest from Northhampton, Mass. indie rockers Winterpills; the husband-and-wife band Tennis; the Canadian group Islands; and the band of Texas siblings known as Eisley (just an EP, unfortunately).

Some albums streaming on one site last week are now available for listening on other sites, so you get another chance to listen to the new albums by Heartless Bastards and Band of Skulls, to name a couple. 

NPR First Listen:
"How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?" by Sinead O'Connor
"Sorrow And Extinction" by Pallbearer

KCRW Album Preview:  (both also streaming on NPR Music)
"Visions" by Grimes (streaming through Feb. 20th)
"Mr. M" by Lambchop (streaming through Feb. 20th)

Spinner.com's Listening Party:
"Young and Old" by Tennis
"A Sleep & A Forgetting" by Islands
"Give You the Ghost" by Poliça  (learn more about them at this KCRW blog post)
"All My Lovely Goners" by Winterpills
"Plumb" by Field Music
"Sweet Sour" by Band of Skulls
"Deep Space EP" by Eisley
"Arrow" by Heartless Bastards
"Form & Control" by Phenomenal Handclap Band
"War Dancer" by Jesse Thomas (get her song "Fire" as this week's iTunes free indie download)
"Soundtrack for a Revolution" by Various Artists (featuring Wyclef Jean, Richie Havens, The Roots, John Legend, Joss Stone, Anthony Hamilton, and more)

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"As the Crow Flies" by Amos Lee
"The Breakdown of a Breakup" by Terry Radigan
"Sabani" by Leni Stern
"Try My Love" by Philipp Fankhauser

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Grammys Recap: The Boss, a Beatle, Glen Campbell, an Exorcism, & More

Nicki Minaj's Grammys performance was the #1 WTF moment of the night, featuring exorcism, dancing monks, and a Red Riding Hood outfit, among other things.

Yesterday's Grammys telecast wasn't as wacky as last year's, but it did have its highlights, lowlights, touching moments, and downright oddball stuff. A brief rundown:
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened the show, performing their new single, "We Take Care of Our Own"
  • Host LL Cool J offered a prayer for Whitney Houston, who died the day before. (Jennifer Hudson later sang "I Will Always Love You" in tribute.)
  • Adele proved her voice was back, belting out a tune (and taking home six Grammys on the night)
  • Paul McCartney performed a new Valentine's Day tune, and ended the show with a rousing version of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End," with guitarists Springsteen, Joe Walsh, and Dave Grohl, among others
  • Glen Campbell received a touching tribute, singing his old hit "Rhinestone Cowboy" after two of his other hits were covered by Blake Shelton and The Band Perry
  • With Lady Gaga not performing this year, Nicki Minaj took up the bizarre-performance mantle with a lengthy song/dramatic piece featuring an exorcism
  • The Allman Brothers Band was one of the artists honored with the lifetime achievement award (see video below)
Also, the Foo Fighters performed two songs and took home an armful of awards; Chris Brown made a controversial return to the Grammy stage; and Lady Gaga sat in the audience wearing what looked like a black basketball net over her face. And what would the Grammys be without some unusual musical collaborations, a couple of which didn't work at all (to me): Rihanna and Coldplay and the Beach Boys with Maroon 5 and Foster the People (though the latter wasn't a bad fit with Brian Wilson and band).

Of course, most of the awards (including the lifetime achievement honors) were handed out before the TV show (view the pre-telecast Grammys ceremony here).

You can find the full list of 2012 Grammy winners and nominees here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bob Mould Plays Songs Old & New at City Winery

Bob Mould has never been one to rest on his laurels, as he indicated once again at one-and-three-quarters-hour sold-out show Thursday night at New York's City Winery. Though he was the leader of the influential and much-loved Minneapolis band Hüsker Dü, Mould has forged his own career since then that has lasted a good deal longer than the group he is best known for.

Above: Bob Mould performs "Make No Sense at All" in Los Angeles in 2008.

Though I wasn't able to take any photos or video at the show, the video above gives a pretty good idea of the sound and look of a Bob Mould show. There's no stage show or effects, no band, no frequent guitar changes, just Mould and his Stratocaster (though sometimes he may play an acoustic guitar as well). Even the clothing is pretty similar to that seen below: Mould in a black or gray t-shirt and blue jeans.

Although Mould has been doing shows that combined song and talking (to promote his recent autobiography, "See a Little Light"), he was all about the music at City Winery, which was fine with me and what seemed to be most of the other fans there. Starting with "Wishing Well" from his first solo album "Workbook," Mould played song after song from his now-lengthy catalog.

There were other songs from "Workbook" ("See a Little Light" and "Brasilia Crossed with Trenton") as well as tunes from his more recent solo efforts (including "The Silence Between Us" and "I'm Sorry, Baby, But You Can't Stand in My Light Anymore") and selections from his post-Husker Du band Sugar (including "Hoover Dam" and "My Favorite Thing").

He closed the show with an encore of "If I Can't Change Your Mind" and Hüsker Dü's "Makes No Sense at All."

Mould occasionally stopped between songs to briefly add context to a song or tell a story. Among other things, he mentioned that he enjoyed playing with the Foo Fighters; he performed on a song on their latest album and also performed it with them in concert a few times.

And in what will be good news for Bob Mould fans, he plans to play some upcoming dates with a trio. A note on his website reads, "In honor of the 20-year anniversary of Sugar's "Copper Blue," Bob along with his band, Jon Wurster (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats), and Jason Narducy (Robert Pollard, Verbow) will be performing the album in its entirety for the first time ever."

Mould mentioned at the show that he'd be playing some upcoming dates with the trio and would begin with some European and later dates, but I don't recall him specifically mentioning that they were to be "Copper Blue" shows. Nevertheless, the notice on Mould's website mentions several European dates for the "Copper Blue" show as well as a show in San Francisco Feb. 24th.

Also in the future for Mould is a new album (he played at least one new song on Thursday night).  To hear what a Bob Mould solo show sounds like, you can stream his set from last year's Sasquatch festival.

If you're a fan of Bob Mould or any of his various musical incarnations, check out his website for news of his shows with the trio. Although Mould can rock out with just his Stratocaster, there's nothing like hearing him the the full sound of a band.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Music Notes: Metallica's NJ Festival, Madonna on Tour, Obama's Spotify, & More

Some random concert and music news from this week:

* Metallica's rumored music festival in New Jersey is a reality: the "Orion: Music + More" fest will take place on June 23rd and 24th at Bader Field in Atlantic City. The band will be headliners both days as well as curators of this new event, which also includes Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, the Gaslight Anthem, F"*cked Up, Titus Andronicus, The Black Angels, Best Coast, and more.

Metallica's Orion music festival is officially on; see ticket info and other details below.
Tickets will be sold at "the early bird price of $150" starting tomorrow, Feb. 11th at 10 a.m. Eastern time at www.orionmusicandmore.com. Supplies are limited at this special price and ticket purchases are limited to no more than ten per person. You'll find an Orion fest FAQ here.

* Following up on her much-discussed Super Bowl halftime show, Madonna announced her 2012 world tour this week. The tour comes to North America on August 28th (in Philadelphia) and comes to Yankee Stadium on Sept. 6th. Tickets for all North American shows go on sale on Feb. 13th at Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com

* Maura Johnston of the Village Voice today penned a scathing take-down of how women in music are discussed in the press in her article "How Not to Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide." Apparently one thing that spurred the article was the recent profile of Lana Del Rey in T, the New York Times style magazine (Johnston lowered the boom on Del Rey in her review of the singer's "Born to Die" a couple of weeks ago.)

* The White House yesterday tweeted the official Spotify playlist of Pres. Barack Obama's re-election campaign, which the L.A. Times lists in full here (and humorously analyzes). The playlist includes soul and R&B (Earth, Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin), country (Sugarland, Zac Brown Band), and some classic rock (REO Speedwagon, Electric Light Orchestra), among other things. And, of course, Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."

While many people have referred to this as Obama's playlist, the actual link says the songs are the picks of the campaign staff, with "a few of President Obama's favorites."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Heartless Bastards, Of Montreal, & More

 New releases from Heartless Bastards, Band of Skulls, Ben Kweller, Chuck Prophet, and Shearwater highlight the notable albums up for free streaming this week. Heartless Bastards made a big splash a few years ago with their breakout album "The Mountain,"and many listeners got hooked on the booming vocals of lead singer and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom. The band, originally from Dayton, Ohio, now calls Austin home and is back with "Arrow,"its much-anticipated follow-up to "The Mountain."

"Arrow" by Heartless Bastards is one of the new albums streaming free this week.
In addition to the albums below, Exclaim.ca is streaming the new album by the Canadian band Islands, "A Sleeping and A Forgetting," and Pitchfork is streaming "Young and Old," the latest release from Tennis.

Some of the albums that were available last week on some streaming services are now available on other ones, such as Sharon Van Etten's "Tramp"and Paul McCartney's new album of 1940s and '50s songs. (Note: The "Tramp" MP3 album is currently $5.99 at Amazon.com.) Also, Van Etten is celebrating the release of today by offering a free download of a "Serpents" demo here.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Arrow" by Heartless Bastards (streaming until Feb. 14th; also streaming at NPR Music)
"Plumb" by Field Music (streaming until Feb. 14th; also streaming at NPR Music)

NPR First Listen:
"Animal Joy" by Shearwater
"Le Voyage Dans La Lune" by Air

Spinner.com's Listening Party:
"Tramp" by Sharon Van Etten
"Kisses on the Bottom" by Paul McCartney
"Sweet Sour" by Band of Skulls
"Go Fly a Kite" by Ben Kweller
"Barchords" by Bahamas
"Be the Void" by Dr. Dog
"Paralytic Stalks" by Of Montreal
"Temple Beautiful" by Chuck Prophet
"The Singles" by Goldfrapp
"Let It Be Roberta - Roberta Flack Sings the Beatles" by Roberta Flack

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Lay Your Weapons Down" by Kiros
"Eulogy for the Damned" by Orange Goblin
"Scars and Stories" by The Fray

Friday, February 03, 2012

Lana Del Rey Sings "Video Games" Better on Letterman (VIDEO)

On the week that her album "Born To Die"dropped, Lana Del Rey returned to singing for late-night TV, performing "Video Games" on last night's Letterman. And she certainly learned a few things from her universally panned performance on SNL a few weeks back.

Backed by a pianist and string section, Del Rey seemed more confident and less awkward than on SNL, and no doubt worked on trying to be less stiff and more animated on stage. Letterman was impressed (or pretended to be, in any case), asking if she was able to come back Friday, and Monday.

Letterman did muff the "Born To Die"release date when talking to Del Rey after the performance, saying that it was coming out next week when it had actually be released Jan. 31st. (See links to some "Born to Die" reviews here.)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Concert Notes: Death Cab Adds 3rd Show; Feist Tour Dates; Daria Musk Live Gig; More

There's lots of concert news today, with some good shows happening this week and others being announced recently:

Death Cab for Cutie has added a third show at the Beacon Theatre, on April 29th. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 3rd at 12 Noon. There may still be tickets available for their shows on April 27th and 28th.

Feist announced a worldwide tour with dates in the U.S. including the Coachella festival, New Orleans JazzFest, and of course New York (Radio City Music Hall on Sat., May 5th; tickets on sale here on Sat., Feb. 4th at 10 a.m.). She also dropped the new video for "The Bad in Each Other," above.

Google+ Hangouts star Daria Musk plays a live show in NYC on Friday.

Singer-songwriter Daria Musk, who's gained fans around the world through her recurring marathon concerts using the Google+ Hangout feature, will be playing a live, in-the-flesh gig in New York City tomorrow night at The Living Room. Musk will go on at 10 p.m. (And yes, you can watch it on the Google+ Hangout if you can't be there.) If she's as effervescent in person as she is on the computer screen, this show will be a treat.

The Dum Dum Girls are back on the road and playing some East Coast dates over the next couple of weeks to promote last year's excellent "Only in Dreams"album. New York area dates are Music Hall of Williamsburg on Feb. 7th and Maxwell's in Hoboken on Feb. 11th. The band also announced that bass player Bambi has departed and will be replaced by Malia James. (Who is Malia James? I found a profile here... she's quite a multi-talented woman.)

Dum Dum Girls play a series of East Coast dates beginning next week.
Speaking of Maxwell's, Montclair native Jenny Owen Youngs plays there tonight with Kelsey Byrne and New Empire supporting. The show starts tonight and tickets are only $12 at the door. Youngs's new album, "An Unwavering Band of Light,"comes out Feb. 7th.